UPDATE: Carl Bustard, the Marysville man held in this case, was released Thursday night after Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives confirmed his alibi. Full story here
EVERETT — A woman whose body was discovered in her home south of Everett early Tuesday morning had suffered multiple stab wounds, according to court records released Wednesday.
Detectives believe the woman likely was killed May 25 after she confronted Carl Bustard, of Marysville, who was allegedly visiting a woman who’d been staying at the home in the 12000 block of 4th Avenue W. The woman was described in court papers as his former girlfriend.
Bustard, 59, was arrested Tuesday for investigation of first-degree murder and booked into the Snohomish County Jail. He was ordered held on $5 million bail during a Wednesday court appearance.
Bustard’s former girlfriend, Tammie Lewis, 54, was arrested for investigation of rendering criminal assistance. A judge set her bail at $250,000.
The victim, 50, had another roommate. That man called 911 Tuesday to report that he had discovered her body in her bedroom after smelling a foul odor for a couple of days. He told detectives with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office that he hadn’t seen the woman for several days.
The roommate had woken up Friday and gone to work. As he left, he said Lewis, who was staying at the home, was sleeping on the couch and he assumed the victim was sleeping in her room. When he arrived home after work, he noticed the victim’s BMW was not in the driveway and both women were gone.
The following day, he did yard work. He sent a text to the victim after her son inquired about her whereabouts. He received a text he thought was from the victim. The message led him to believe the victim and Lewis had gone to Reno.
On Sunday, the man began receiving texts from the victim’s cellphone. Whoever wrote the texts allegedly said Bustard had snuck into the home to bring Lewis some pills. When the victim found him, she screamed, smacked him on the head and threatened to call 911 before walking down the hallway, according to court papers.
A text message said Bustard was high on meth and had grabbed a pair of gloves and a knife, court papers said.
Lewis eventually was interviewed by sheriff’s detectives. She allegedly said Bustard attacked the victim from behind as she sat on a couch. She also said she feared for her own life if she didn’t help him clean up the crime scene and stay quiet about what happened.
Lewis described the attack as occurring “very quickly and deliberately” and said she tried to pull him away during the attack.
The body was moved to the victim’s room and concealed beneath a mattress, court papers said.
Lewis reportedly said she helped clean up. She allegedly admitted driving the victim’s car and taking the victim’s cellphone as well as ID and credit cards. She reportedly said she abandoned the car in Marysville and told investigators that the trunk contained blood-stained evidence.
On Tuesday, Bustard was detained while driving a Ford Explorer in the Marysville area. Law enforcement officers reportedly found bottles of bleach in the SUV as well as black gloves. Earlier in the day, he had obtained an enhanced driver’s license that would allow him to travel into Canada and Mexico, court papers said. His attorney, Anna Goykhman, said he and his family were planning a trip.
Bustard denied knowing the victim but acknowledged knowing her roommates. He said he didn’t know where they lived. He also called Lewis “a pathological liar” with mental illness, court papers said.
Detectives are investigating Bustard’s whereabouts at the time the homicide occurred. He told them he had been on a trip to the Midwest and allegedly returned to his Marysville home around 10:30 p.m. May 25, several hours after the killing occurred. Investigators were planning to talk with family members who might have additional information.
In the past six years, Lewis had filed multiple no-contact orders against Bustard. All were dismissed after she did not attend the hearings. She was convicted of vehicular assault in 2009, and also has criminal history out of Grays Harbor, Oregon and Alaska.
Release of the victim’s name is pending from the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office, as well as the cause and manner of death.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; firstname.lastname@example.org.